Sunday, May 6, 2012

Thinking About Next Year

These past few weeks have been incredibly busy. Every weekend, I went to a new place. Being busy pushed all the activities I did for self improvement and reflection to the side. But, I'm back and ready to process. Recently, I have been thinking what I am going to do after this year. I'm excited and scared. Part of me wants to stay in Atlanta and find a job here, hopefully in the non-profit world. I enjoy the people here and love working in a job that means something to me. Like I said before, I'm a little bit scared. I lied. I'm terrified what's going to happen next. I keep thinking about what if I can't find a job here or somewhere else. Will I lose all of the progress in handling my social anxiety. Despite all these variables, I'm optimistic that next year will offer as many new things and opportunities as this year. I now know what I can do. As long as I am motivated new doors will open.

Friday day was field day at the Kindezi School. For the entire school,  kids played fun indoor and outdoor activities.

Post field day dance party!!!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012


In the last week or two. I have been thinking about what I am going to do next year. We're past the half way mark and the International placement event was a week ago. The new YAVs are getting ready to have their adventures. I'm excited for them and myself. This year has taught me a lot. It has got me thinking where do I want to go next. Though I'm still not sure, I still feel called to Atlanta. I am drawn to the people here and the work I am doing at my placements. However, I yearn to learn and take more responsibility. I want a bigger role working at a non-profit. I feel God drawing me towards a larger leadership role.

While the path is becoming a little bit clearer, I'm trying to process what is going happening. I reflect by drawing and walking. Recently I have been meeting with friends, supervisors, and family to talk through my discernment. This has been a powerful experience in itself. They offer me advice, tell me their experiences in the program, or even just listen to me ramble for an hour. In these discussions I realized how many people care about me. Everyone I talk to went out of their way to help me in my journey. The community I am apart of is a strongly knit grout bounded by God's love.

On Friday the kids got the chance to duck tape Principal Dean to the wall. I can't specifically remember the reason  for the occasion. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012


For me drawing has become a period of relaxation and reflection. Most of the time, my mind is racing, jumping from thinking about future job prospects, work, and really anything that pops in my head. Sometimes I think I have ADD because I can't sit still or work on something for a long time. This why I have trouble reading big books because my mind starts to wander. Drawing on the other hand, I can sit for hours. When I draw, my mind is calm. I don't really think about anything besides what I am drawing ahead of me. Drawing by observation is really a problem I have to solve. When you drawing something from reality, you have to capture what it looks from your eyes. This means you have to see the relationship different objects in a scene. Some objects are farther away than others so they will appear smaller. Others appear bigger because their closer to your line of vision. If you slightly move your position, the scene you are trying to draw changes. 

This year has given me that chance to really pursue my passion of drawing. I don't have the distractions of home. But most importantly, this year presented me with challenges that pushed me to look for alternatives for dealing stress. At the moment, drawing, cooking, and walking are my ways of reflection and relaxation. My hobby in someways has consumed me. I thirst to learn new ways of drawing things. I buy and read books on artists, comic art, color, and drawing from life. I just hope that this passion doesn't die out when the year is over.
Every few months, the Kindezi school throws a party for students who didn't get involve any conflict  for significant amount of time. Peace Parties usually have potato sack races, pizza,  the game twister, and face painting.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I had a very busy weekend. Saturday was Charish, the Furniture Bank's big fundraising event for the year. The event consisted of a art auction, silent auction, and even a game of musical chairs. This was my first time ever attending/volunteering something this fancy before. As a volunteer for the Chairish, I helped get the place ready for the guests and take everything down at the end of the night. I even got the chance to be a server. It was a long day. I didn't expect to work 12 hours. But by the end of it, I'm glad I got the chance to be something as wonderful as Charish. It's really powerful to see hundreds people gather together for a cause. I think having events like Chairish gives people the chance to be enlighten and refocus on issues that are affecting their community. 

Auction items sitting in our tiny office before being shipped to Puritan Mills.

Front Entrance of Puritan Mills where Charish was held.

Volunteers setting up for the event.

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Guest playing a round of musical chairs.

A piece of art being ready to be sold at the auction.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Seeing Your Work as a Form of Community

A week ago, I decided to go see a play about Black History Month at Kindezi. It was the first time I went to one of the big after school events due to forgetfulness and lack of motivation. The play was wonderful. They didn't talk about the typical historical African American figures. Instead, they discuss of the importance of African culture throughout world history leading up today. They even taught this history major a few things. For example, I had no idea that a power ancient civilization thrived in the heart of what is now Zimbabwe! By the end of the play, one of my students ran up to me to give me a high five and meet his parents. I was flattered.

 I was really happy I came to the school that night. Sometimes it hard to motivate myself to participate work-related activities outside my normal work day. When the weekend comes by I just want to go home, relax, and forget about the world.  However, I'm beginning to see the benefits of taking the extra-step in putting yourself out there for your placement. It gives you the chance to see the people at your job in a whole different light. I never saw my students act or dance until I saw the play. I was awestruck by their talent. I also go the chance to meet some of  my students' parents.

Besides a new perspective, these events give more opportunities in building relationships. I see this in the after school soccer club that teachers, interns, and administrators participate in every Friday. In that type of event we are not working, but just having fun. All the worries about grading papers, grants, and talking to disgruntle parents melt away. The more of I think about it, Kindezi and the Furniture Bank are in some way a community. They are not just co-workers, but friends. They are willing to go out of their way for each other. It is this deep understanding of interconnected and friendship that separates these organizations from others.

Here it is! It has literally took a month, but I did it! I finally got a pick of the  Furniture Bank  warehouse.

Here's a interesting fact, we do not own this property, but rent for a lot money.  This will change next year, when the Furniture Bank moves to its new location on Murphy Ave. 

Here is one of our trucks (left side) and mattress trailer (right side). We have two mid-size trucks  and a mini-truck  used for delivering/picking up donations. The large trailer is use for dumping mattresses that are too ragged or stained for our clients. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Serving Our Neighborhood as a Community

      By neighborhood, I really mean the city of Atlanta. Yesterday, my housemates came to the Metro-Atlanta Furniture Bank to volunteer for a few hours. This is something we planned about a month ago. I wanted my housemates come visit my job and give them a taste of what I do at the Furniture Bank. They agreed to come this Saturday. The day turned out great besides a few mishaps. As a group we moved furniture, sorted mattresses, and built tables. It was hard manual labor. Something I believe we were missing in our community. We have spiritual direction, bible study, logistics, but what about service? This year is suppose to be about serving our neighborhood either that be our street or the entire city of Atlanta. I think working together in a more dynamic and engaging environment allows to form stronger bonds as community. We are living and serving together.
        As dwellers I think we to expand beyond our placements for serving others. We can always learn new things from volunteering at a different organization. We gain a new perspective on other ways of helping others. For example, some members of group work directly with the Homeless at the Outreach Center at First Presbyterian. They help people getting birth certificates, IDs, or food stamps. Our work day on Saturday gave them the opportunity to try to something different.

Greg, Sean, Ed, and Leslie building tables for clients.
Emily sweeping the floor in the warehouse.
This chair is part of a the fundraising auction the Furniture Bank is holding in March called Charish.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Working With Children

Even though I had experience working with kids before this year, I forgot how challenging it can be. As a club leader/tutor you have to establish boundaries early and be consistent. My first experience leading a club this year ending on a sour note. I didn't set rules early on and my kids took advantage of it. Throughout the club they constantly push my buttons. I should use more discipline. It's hard to discipline a child because you want to be the cool guy, the friend. In reality in order for my students to have good time, they needed rules. They needed a teacher not a friend. In my new club I'm trying to practice being a teacher,.  I decided to let them create the rules (with guidance from me) and have them sign it. Also, I'm a lot more firm in keeping the peace during club time. So far this club has gone a lot better than the previous one. I feel personally, they are getting more out of it.